Warning: This blog post discusses some borderline potty talk. Reader discretion is advised.
Part of getting involved with a church is finding a group of people that he can get involved with. This means he had to sign up for and join a small group Bible study. Over the years, the Single Guy has come to enjoy these small groups much more than he ever liked attending a Sunday School class before Big Church every week. Small groups meet in people's homes. They're warmer, more inviting, cozier.
Thursday of last week, the Single Guy found himself in one of those warm, inviting and cozy homes. He's decided to participate in a group that will be reading through the entire Bible in a year. Of course, this is something he has attempted in the past. For some reason, he's never been able to get much farther than Exodus. This means he's probably read through Genesis about a dozen times. This time, he hopes it's different. By joining up with a group that's doing the same thing, his hope is that they'll all encourage each other to keep up the pace.
The first group meeting consisted of passing along information from the leaders to the group members. The Single Guy sat quietly, as he usually does in situations involving new people. Suddenly it hit him. He had to get to the bathroom.
But this was a new place. He'd never been here before, much less used the bathroom. And this wasn't exactly a good time for him to raise his hand and ask for directions to the bathroom. The group leader was talking. She was sure to be sharing some important information about how things would be run in the group over the course of the next few months. There was probably something mentioned about not interrupting, but the Single Guy couldn't possibly know that. He was absolutely not paying attention.
Instead, he was focused on keeping himself together. Folks, it wasn't that the Single Guy had to do anything as simple as get to the restroom to pee. No, he could hold that for a while if necessary. And it was necessary. The problem at the moment was one of a more intestinal matter. Without trying to sound completely indelicate, he really needed to fart.
By this point in the evening, the Single Guy was using every ounce of his strength to clench. Here he was in a room full of people he had just met and he was praying for the strength not to break wind, which he knew would alienate them immediately. He was afraid to move, even slightly. His face had to have been turning blood red as he held back a perfectly natural bodily function.
He was in pain. Aside from that, he was torn. Three options lay before him.
One, he could interrupt the leader and ask for the bathroom. In his mind, this was a non-option. The Single Guy would stand up and say, "I'm sorry, but where's your bathroom?" The leader, of course, would then politely point the way or explain how to get there. In a one-bedroom duplex, it couldn't have been far away. But then comes the thought that everyone out in the living room obviously knows what he's doing in there. The Single Guy shook that idea out of his head.
Two, he could keep trying with all his might to hold the gas in. Again, he was in a great deal of pain. Most people have probably experienced this pain. Gas that gets pent up inside our bodies tends to be painful, especially when it cannot be released. But he wasn't really thinking about the pain. If he could manage to get past the pain and fight back the urge to let go, things might shift around on the inside. And then his gut would make a horrendous noise. It would be that loud noise that everyone would hear, and they would know, he's gotta fart. The quiet laughter would begin. The snickers under people's breath would grow louder and the Single Guy would be forced to leave the home, running off into the night. He could play the noise off as a stomach growl, as if he was hungry. But there's a difference in the noise of hunger and the sound of shifting gas. Anyone in that room with half a brain would know he was lying. "He can't be hungry," they would say, "I saw him eat no less than three cookies just minutes ago!"
Three, he could just let it go. As much as he hated the first two options, this third one was even less appealing. He was sitting on a hard folding chair. This meant that, at best, any fart would be a loud fart. But even if the Single Guy could disguise the noise, what would he be able to do about the smell? Everyone would know the general area from which the odor had come. They would look upon the Single Guy with disgust. He would be excommunicated from the group. It would be just another church with whom his bridges had been burned.
The pain was growing more intense by the second. And it seemed the information being given to the group members would never end. At that moment, the Single Guy did the only thing he knew he could safely do. He prayed silently. And when the urge became too great, he dared to risk the release of gas. There was no sound. There was no noticeable odor. He received no looks from the people next to him. No one had noticed. In his mind, the Single Guy rejoiced. He had just been a part of a spectacular miracle.
The rest of the evening went on without a hitch. The Single Guy felt as if an enormous weight had been lifted from his shoulders. The pain was gone. He could move around again without fear of something improper slipping out.
He learned a valuable lesson that night. Never eat or drink anything for two hours before meeting new people. The food may be delicious, but is it really worth the risk?